Udayavni Special

Ker CM again writes to PM on blockade of inter-state border


Team Udayavani, Mar 29, 2020, 8:28 PM IST

Kasaragod: For the second time in two days, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to ensure vehicles carrying essential commodities to the state were not blocked at the borders by neighbouring Karnataka during the national lockdown to check spread of coronavirus.

He also brought to the PM’s attention an incident relating to the death of a critically ill patient after the ambulance carrying her was allegedly not allowed to cross over to nearby Mangaluru from Talappady in Kasaragod.

Despite pleas by the family and ambulance driver, police did not allow the vehicle to cross the border and turned it back on Saturday after which she was taken to a primary health centre and then to home, but died this morning

In a letter to Modi, the second in two days on the issue, Vijayan said it was “incorrect” to portray certain districts in the state as “highly affected” by the coronavirus.

While pointing that the state had 165 COVID-19 cases as of Saturday and 1,34,370 were under observation as a precautionary measure, he said not all of them were positive for the virus.

Kerala had put its entire machinery in “full swing” to combat the coronavirus, he said.

Karnataka had justified blocking roads pointing that majority of the positive cases were from the bordering districts in Kerala and opening of the inter-state routes would lead to possibilities of the infection reaching the other side, Vijayan said.

However, this was “totally contrary” to the facts and ground realities, he said adding the incident of the virus spread in Kerala and border districts has been mainly noticed among people returning from abroad.

The Kerala Government had taken effective measures to contain spread of the infection to social contacts, he said.

“We have put our machinery in full swing. It is totally incorrect to portray certain districts in the state has been highly affected by COVID-19. A large number of people have been kept in isolation and observation as a precautionary measure and all of them are not positive for the infection”, he said.

The blockade by Karnataka police in the border areas on Thalassery-Coorg state highway goes against facilitating movement of essential commodities across the country and this action was “totally unacceptable” and it should be lifted forthwith, he said.

At a time when the country faced an unprecedented crisis, “local and partisan vested interests” should not prevail over national interest, Vijayan said in his letter.

The Kerala government has no dispute on the fact that movement of people in a routine manner across the border during the lockdown should be prevented, but transportation of essential commodities should be ensured without any obstruction, he added.

On Saturday, he had told Modi that the Thalassery-Coorg State Highway 30, connecting Kerala with Coorg in Karnataka via Veerajapetta, was “a lifeline for the flow of essential commodities to Kerala.”

If this route was blocked, the lorries would have to traverse a longer route to reach the state, he had said.

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